Support our Youth Group as they Do the Loop for youth

Sunday, September 26, 2021Congregation Emanu-El Youth Group invites you to support and/or join them on Sunday, September 26, 2021 when they will saddle up for Threshold Housing Society’s Do the Loop bike/walk/run fundraiser. Our Youth Group, under the guidance of their coordinator Adele Mark, will bike around Victoria to raise money for Threshold Society, which provides safe housing and services for youth at risk of homelessness. Want to donate to our Youth Group team? Click here! 

Erev Simhat Torah Celebration

Starting at 5 pm, Tuesday, September 28, 2021Pre-registration required—Join us for a joyous, spirited evening outdoors in Uri and Leah Levi’s backyard to celebrate the completion of the Torah reading cycle and the joy at having the Torah. All ages are welcome. Many thanks to Uri and Leah for offering their backyard. Due to space constraints, we have limited the number of attendees to 30 so you MUST pre-register. Please note that registration is only complete when you receive confirmation from the office. As parking will be limited, please consider coming by other means or car-pooling.

As part of the evening’s festivities, we will take time to appreciate the contributions of two congregants. These individuals have shown dedication and generosity of spirit, and contributed in a significant way to further Jewish life at Congregation Emanu-El and in the larger Victoria community. This year, the Religious Services Committee has chosen to honour Frances Rosenberg and Rabbi Louis Sutker. We hope you will be able to join us for this year’s Simḥat Torah celebration!  Don’t forget to register if you plan to attend.

Sukkot Open House in the Brechners’ Sukkah!

Sunday, September 26, 2021, 1–3 pm: Preregistration necessary

  • Shake a lulav! Take a lookah our sukkah! Sit down and have something to eat! (Sorry, no down-home-gumbo this year).
  • We look forward to hosting folks who want a sukkah experience and share some joy.
  • Due to nasty COVID-19, we must limit the number of people present at any time, so preregistration is a must.
  • Sign up to visit the Brechners’ sukkah. Select a time slot and enter the number in your group.
  • Looking forward to seeing you—we miss you!

RaeAnn and Rabbi Harry

The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing

Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm with broadcaster Andy Muchin as he explores the delightful Yiddish singing group, The Barry Sisters and the revival of what was known as Yiddish Swing.

The Barry Sisters—Claire and Merna—were early stars of this style, and their lively renditions outlasted the swing craze and reenergized Yiddish song in the Americas. With their sweet, tight harmonies and consummate artistry, the sisters performed on radio and television, at nightclubs, and on concert stages for some 35 years including a 1959 US friendship tour of the Soviet Union as star performers. The Barry Sisters recorded mostly, Yiddish songs on numerous 78 rpm discs and LPs.

Not only will this presentation explore the Barry Sisters’ brilliant career during and after Yiddish Swing, it will also take a toe-tapping detour through some of the best Yiddish swing recordings from artists as diverse as klezmer clarinetist, Dave Tarras, and jazz singer/songwriter Slim Gaillard.

Andy Muchin has hosted the weekly Sounds Jewish radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and since 2010. He has written about Jewish music for Forward newspaper, Moment Magazine, and other publications.

All are welcome to attend this exciting Zoom presentation for free, thanks to the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI). To register (and receive full information) on this and the other sessions this fall please send us a note.

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 961 0251 7947
Passcode: 657412

Not There Yet: A Brief History of the Struggle for Civil Liberties in Israel

Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm—Francis Landy invites you to a virtual salon for the New Israel Fund (NIF) on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm. Ben Murane, Executive Director, NIF Canada will speak about the struggle for human and civil rights in Israel. Contact Francis to obtain a link for this session.

Side by Side Exhibit

Opening Saturday, October 2, 2021Side by Side is a retrospective exhibit of unsold artwork—paintings, collages, photographs, and letter poems by Brian Saunders & Jackie Saunders-Ritchie—in their art studio in the back garden at 2716 Thompson Avenue, Oak Bay. The show opens on Saturday, October 2, 1–5 pm and continues Tuesday, October 3–5, 12-4 pm. For more information contact Jackie.

Antiracism & Equity Working Group Update

The Antiracism & Equity Working Group had a great meeting with Carmel Tanaka who self-defines as a queer, “Jewpanese” (Jewish and Japanese Canadian) woman of colour. Carmel is a former director of UVic Hillel and remains a huge fan of the Victoria Jewish community—and of Congregation Emanu-El, and Rabbi Harry, in particular. A community engagement professional, Carmel founded JQT Vancouver, a Jewish queer and trans nonprofit, and was named one of Be’chol Lashon’s“7 LGBTQ+ Jews of Color You Should Know”. You can check out Carmel and her fantastic work here. We had a terrific conversation about antiracism and equity work focusing on outreach, relationship building, partnership opportunities, action, and ongoing community reflection within the Jewish community.

Moving forward, we want to ensure that our group membership is representative of the rich, diverse, and multiple identities of the community—including Jews of Colour, Jews with disabilities, LGBTQ+* Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships and Jewish Adjacent People (people who are not Jewish but are in families or relationships with Jewish people), Teens, Jews by choice, Working class people, Singles, New members of our community, Single parents, People new to Judaism, People who do not have or do not plan on having children, and People who only come to our community a couple times of year.

If you identify with any or several of the categories above, and are open to considering joining us in whatever capacity you have time and energy for, please email Ilana at

Lastly, please note the excellent “Learning Together Tuesday” sessions offered in partnership by Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) and the Society of the Friend’s St. Ann’s Academy (SFSAA).

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning) and others

Outreach Looking for Volunteers!

Outreach is looking for volunteers interested in spending quality one-on-one time with some of our congregation’s most valuable members! 

  • We need people interested in spending from two hours a month to two hours a week in homes or taking members into the community for a little company. 
  • Volunteers will be matched with members whom they will see on a regular schedule. The Outreach Committee will support the volunteers and respond to any questions or concerns they may have. 
  • If this might interest you, or if you would like more information, please contact Rachel.
  • Note: Due to the vulnerability of some our community members, volunteers must be fully vaccinated.

Thank you for reading.

Cemetery Website Up and Running

Thanks to Leah Freedman and Amber Woods, we have a new, totally wonderful, and fully searchable website for our historic Jewish Cemetery. This website contains burial information, and more, on every person that we are aware was buried in the cemetery, or was noted on a gravestone. To view the Jewish Cemetery of Victoria website.

The process of collecting and correcting information about the people buried in our cemetery has taken many years, and we are very interested in fixing any errors that might be found in the information on the website. To send comments and/or additions and/or corrections.

The website also hosts the stories of those people remembered on the Zachor Remembrance Wall. To view these stories.

The Cemetery Committee offers our deepest thanks to Leah and Amber bringing this amazing project to fruition.